Heading into the weekend …
- I don’t want to it to become a running joke in the sense that I’m not looking to make fun of Jon Heyman, but … it’s kind of becoming a running joke: got a big-time free agent? Connect him to the Cubs via Heyman. This time it’s Jacoby Ellsbury, and Heyman says the Cubs are a candidate to sign him (together with the Mariners, Cardinals, Reds, Astros, and Dodgers (huh?)). The article, you’ll note, isn’t a specific Ellsbury rumor piece, so it’s not as if Heyman was trolling for clicks. On the other hand, Heyman was likely just listing off some possibilities from the hip.
- Patrick Mooney is sticking to his belief that the Cubs will try to add one – and only one – impact piece this offseason. Ellsbury, among others, is mentioned as a possibility.
- The Indians are reportedly trying to figure out what they’re going to do about the surprisingly resurgent Ubaldo Jimenez. Paul Hoynes says there’s no chance they offer him a multiyear deal, what with how much Tim Lincecum got, and he says there’s a chance they might not even make him a qualifying offer. Given that Lincecum deal (two years, $35 million and a no-trade clause), I can’t fathom the Indians not giving Jimenez a qualifying offer (about $14 million for one year), and I can’t fathom Jimenez declining. Indeed, if salaries are about to blow up as much as it seems like they might, I’m expecting far more fringy types to get qualifying offers than in the past. Jimenez turns 30 next year, and reinvented himself in 2013 after a drop in velocity forced him to make some changes. He looked like he was absolutely done in 2011 and 2012, but there are reasons to believe that the 2013 uptick wasn’t just a fluke. He might be a name worth considering when free agency rolls around, depending on how his situation with the Indians plays out.
- The Red Sox traded for outfielder Alex Castellanos, the Dodgers discard I recently suggested the Cubs might take a look at. Since it was an actual trade, it’s possible Castellanos never made it to waivers and the Cubs never had a chance to get him (absent beating the Red Sox’s offer). In any case, a smart organization wanted him, so I feel relatively justified in my hunch-work.
- Tim Dierkes predicts a six-year, $100 million contract for outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. Who’s still in at that price? I would have balked a couple weeks ago, but now I wonder if that’s simply the new, and increasing normal.
- Another Korean pitcher could be hitting the market soon (via the posting process): Seung-Hwan Oh, a dominant reliever. The Cubs have already been attached to Korean Suk-Min Yoon, and I’m sure they’ll consider just about anyone. The interesting thing on lower-impact players like Oh who go through the posting process: although it seems odd to have to pay a posting price, the contract then tends to be lower than it would be on an open market, since yours is the only team that can negotiate with the player. Yoon, unlike Oh, is a true free agent.